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Kids Rock! Rethinking Infant Oral Health in the General Dentist's Office

If your practice is not enjoying a steady flow of health-seeking young families, chances are the health of your general dental practice is in jeopardy. Kids are key! Plus, rocketing the health of younger generations is the very best investment we can make in the future health of our country!

If you and your team need a shot of energy to boost your enjoyment of kids in the practice, reinvent an innovative dental experience for children, introduce a fabulous infant oral health program, predict and preempt pediatric airway and sleep disorders, put your hands on great nutrition tools and/or target market your practice to attract young families, don’t miss my presentation at AAOSH’s 2018 Scientific Session!

Infant Oral Health Exams: Under the Age of 1!

Does your team know that the American Dental Association, American Pediatric Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Medicine, ALL recommend children get a dental examination under the age of 1?! The vast majority of dentists and dental hygienists are intimidated by the thought of infant oral health exams since they are accustomed to receiving new-patient children around age 3, after they can comply with simple commands.

Pediatricians and family practitioners have done a decent job urging U.S. parents to find a dental home for their infants as soon as the first little teeth erupt, between 6 and 12 months of age. Since general dentists are doing a lousy job meeting that demand, the pediatric dentists need extra phone lines. But if you’re the general dentist who loses babies to the pedo office for 14 or more years, imagine how that affects your bottom line over the next decade.

You may be still wondering: “Why by age 1?"

It’s because dental disease is the number one disease among children in the U.S., the number one reason children miss school, and the number one reason for hospital emergency department visits among children.  That might be hard to believe considering dental disease is 100 percent preventable.

Besides helping caregivers learn how to avoid transmissibility of the microflora that causes caries disease, the infant exam also includes engaging them in appropriate home care activities, examining development including tethered lips and tongues to support healthy airway growth, teaching appropriate actions following tooth/mouth trauma, and coaching with food rules that help grow strong bodies for a lifetime. Learn more and dive in! You will enhance and change lives forever while you augment your practice services.

Rethink your child prophy experience!

You already know about selective polishing—the news that there is no evidence for the efficacy of polishing teeth. We should only be polishing specific areas that have unsightly stain. So why do we do it?  It’s called a “bad habit.”  It’s time to practice with integrity to the literature and make a significant impact on children’s beliefs, behaviors and habits for life.

Turns out, kinesthetic (hands-on) learning beats teach-and-tell learning every time.  Learn more about the Self-Prophy model where we stain plaque and then let children (and adults!) choose their own tools and show us how they use them. It’s our chance to gently coach each individual to profoundly improve self-care performance over time. Meanwhile, we can track their progressive behavior and assure that they develop skills, believes and habitual behaviors for a lifetime of oral health.

Consider Adding Hands-On Science Experiments

If you want to take total body health to a new level, you might want to transform your child prophy visit to include more kinesthetic learning experiences for every child at every visit. Take a look at age-appropriate science experiments around smart nutrition, food habits, acid-base chemistry, biomechanics of teeth, periodontal disease progression, brain health, and even an enormous exposure to dentistry as a career.

Intrigued yet? Come to the AAOSH 2018 Scientific Session. Bring your team and let’s learn together! One year from now, your infant and children’s total-health program might just be the most fun part of your day, and the marketing piece that differentiates YOU as the go-to total health practice in your community.